Halima Aden, the Muslim model who pioneered wearing her hijab on catwalks and in photo shoots, has denounced the fashion industry and its exploitation of young models.
Aden left the industry in November 2020 , citing compromised beliefs and feeling like a "minority within a minority ".
In a new interview for the BBC World Service with Tommy Hilfiger, Aden says that towards the end of her modeling career, she felt that she had lost control of his identity. "For the past two years I have trusted the team on set to make my hijab and that's when I ran into problems," she says, "Like jeans placed on my head instead of a regular scarf." The way they styled it, I was so far removed from my own image. My hijab kept shrinking and got smaller and smaller with each shot. "
In 2016, Aden was the first Muslim candidate fully covered to enter the Miss Minnesota USA pageant. She then signed with IMG Templates .
"When I first started I thought, 'This is going to open the door to so many girls in my community,' she says. "I never got to flip through a magazine and see someone in a hijab, so being that person for the other girls was a dream come true. But the last two years [of my career] I've had so many internal conflicts. "
An initial clause in her modeling contract was a guarantee that she would have a stuck box to change into. But over time that caused problems, she says. "I was on a set with another Muslim model and I was given a box to change me and she wasn 't. That didn't suit me, "she said.
Reacting to the stories of other models being exploited on set, Aden said in the interview that the people of theThe industry believes that the models are "easy to operate." Fashion can be a very profitable industry. Speaking about the mistreatment of the hair and makeup of color models on fashion sets, Aden said, “There must be persity in the makeup crew, the hair ( and) stylists. It's not just about having a podium
In 2019, Aden made history by becoming the first model to wear a burkini , designed by Tommy Hilfiger, in Sports Illustrated magazine .
" It was such an amazing experience when you consider the history of [burkini ] ", She said. " We have people banning it on target public ranges . We made quite the declaration for it to be featured in Sports Illustrated. We have pushed the needle. Although she made a statement, she said the experience was not entirely positive.
" I felt like it was a thin line that I had to walk, "she said." I would disturb members of the Muslim community. [I would hear] comments like " "This burkini is way too tight " and "Why would you want to photograph for a post [like this]? " I felt like I was constantly trying to appease my Muslim fans while staying very fashionable. Because young fans have texted me saying, "We want to see you in new looks; we want to see your [knotted] scarf differently. '”
Aden says that by quitting the industry, she hopes to haveir inspired by younger models. "If I did something, I gave the models a chance to express themselves," she says. "I felt a lot of pressure the industry 's first Muslim model wearing the hijab and I felt a sense of responsibility towards the girls who came after me. "